Yin yoga is a series of long held poses, mainly working the hip region that requires three things while practicing; Coming to your edge in the pose, remaining still and a good deal of time ( up to 10 minutes) in each pose. When I teach yin I notice quite often that people don’t have any problem with coming to their edge, they probably even leap off it from time to time but the other two, time and stillness is a more difficult practice.
I’m not sure if you have ever tried to sit still in a position for a while but this is generally what happens. You get comfortable, you feel OK for a couple of minutes and then then the fidgeting starts. Firstly there is the head popping up to look around, then suddenly your toe nails take on a new depth of fascination and if it all gets too much you might just come out of the pose. All of these things, fidgeting, looking away or around or escaping are signs that you have disconnected from what you are doing. Not only have you disconnected but you have fallen into one of the classic teachings of Buddha which is, we try to repel what we don’t want.
This is the same when we live our life. If something causes us discomfort whether it be a yoga pose or a conversation, a difficult task or a boring friend we respond by distracting ourselves. Distraction is the first sign that you are no longer present, If you are no longer present you have moved into some other time frame, possibly the ‘better’ future where all your good dreams come true. Conversely if we sit still long enough to watch the rise and fall of our desires we can learn something about ourselves and human nature in general.
- Calming and balancing to the mind and body
- Regulates energy in the body
- Increases mobility in the body, especially the joints and hips
- Lowering of stress levels (no one needs that)
- Greater stamina
- Better lubrication and protection of joints
- More flexibility in joints & connective tissue
- Release of fascia throughout the body
- Help with TMJ and migraines
- Deeper Relaxation
- A great coping for anxiety and stress
- Better ability to sit for meditation
- Ultimately you will have a better Yang practice
- I really do believe that if you incorporate a little of both will create a more well-rounded practice as well as a better-rounded version of the awesome you!
How often should you practice Yin?
One of the benefits of yin is to bring more balance into our life. Therefore it makes sense that when you are feeling very rushed or busy the practice that you should go to is yin. We are often drawn to practices that are an extension of how we feel ie if we are busy rushing people we may feel we need to do some high impact exercise or a power yoga class. However it is more likely you made need to reset yourself by a balancing yin class. I do a little yin every day but on days where I need it I will do a longer practice of an hour.
Should I do yin before or after a more yang or vigorous workout?
People vary on when you should do yin but I feel the best time to do it is when the body is cold or slightly stiff. If our muscles are really warmed up and open you may not feel the physical benefits as much and the stretching of the connective tissues may not be as pronounced. However doing yin after yang also has the benefits of being meditative end to your yoga practice.